When you present ESL lesson plans on superstition and belief you provide an avenue for introducing new vocabulary as well as an opportunity for cultural discussions that can be enlightening to all involved.
On the surface, ESL is a foreign language class for non-English speakers and teachers. However, as with any foreign language class, it is impossible to separate language from discussions about cultural belief systems. In fact, there is a good argument to be made that issues of culture and belief can loom more largely in an ESL classroom than in other foreign language classes.
The reason superstition and belief based lesson plans may have more cache in ESL classes is because of the make-up of both the student and teacher population.
- Many ESL students are immigrants to English speaking countries from all corners of the globe.
- Other students, who come from places equally as far flung, are people who are preparing to move to English speaking countries or to engage in international business.
These divergent backgrounds provide fertile ground for stimulating discussions of superstition and belief.
While learning about each other, students may also be well served to learn about the superstition and belief patterns in their new homes or in the countries to which they plan to travel. ESL lesson plans for superstition and belief not only give the students a vocabulary lesson but also give them useful information that will help them navigate the English speaking world.
ESL teachers can also benefit greatly from these kinds of lesson plans. Many ESL teachers use their teaching jobs as an avenue through which to see the world and experience life in different countries and cultures. ESL lesson plans that encourage students to discuss their own beliefs and the beliefs of their culture can provide teachers with great insight into their own new home.
When coming up with ESL lesson plans, it is important to consider both the level of ability of the class and the age appropriateness of the lesson. Lesson plans can range from topics like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy to more advanced discussions of different religions. Consider your audience carefully when developing your plans.
If you are teaching ESL abroad, it is also important to keep in mind any constraints on these kinds of discussions in the place in which you are living. What may seem like an innocuous subject to you could be highly offensive and inappropriate in the culture in which you are teaching. If you are going to incorporate these subjects into your ESL lesson plans, a good rule of thumb is to clear everything with your boss and/or the agency that placed you in the job before you start teaching.
If you need to some ideas for ESL lesson plans that incorporate superstitions and beliefs, the Internet is a great resource. There are lots of websites dedicated to lesson plans for ESL teachers. For example:
- MichelleHenry contains information on tons of different superstitions and lesson plan ideas for incorporating these beliefs into your classes.
ESL Teachers Board is a great place for swapping lesson plan ideas with other ESL teachers. There is lots of advice here on teaching superstitions and beliefs.